Xbox clusters?

Roger L. Smith roger at ERC.MsState.Edu
Thu Dec 6 11:50:17 EST 2001


On Thu, 6 Dec 2001, Brian LaMere wrote:

> Like I said...why pay /any/ premium at all?  And I promise that if you had
> obtained a quote from someone like VA or advancedclustering (or whomeever)
> it would have beat the quote from IBM, Compaq, or HP by more than the 12% in
> my example.  Apples to apples.  Its $2537 for a single box.  Ask them what
> 128 would be.

The price that we received from IBM was well within your 12% number of
prices we got from second-tier vendors (including one that is a Linux-only
vendor, much like VA is/was).  However, the boxes from IBM and Compaq were
MUCH better engineered boxes with far better cooling infrastructures,
which is very inportant in a 1U box.  We felt the IBM boxes were enough
better than the boxes from other vendors (at least, non first-tier
vendors), that it was worth a small premium in price.

> Isn't the whole point of this for it to be commodity stuff?  If I'm going to
> pay crazy prices, I might as well buy a E10k or a zSeries from IBM.  The
> point is to buy /cheap/ and save on the cost of such things.  You throw
> price to performance rations out the window when you worry about 3 year
> on-site warranties.  They're pointless.  I have your 3-year warranty beat to
> peices with my 6 spare systems (that hey...I'm able to make a test cluster
> out of to boot).

No, the point for us was *NOT* "commodity stuff", and we already have a
fully-configured E10K.  The point for us was to acquire a high-performance
computational platform that produced a good cost/performance ratio on our
codes.  Since purchasing our E10000 several years ago, our codes have
changed such that a cluster became a more viable solution for them.  If
the E15K, an Origin, or something along those lines could have produced
better (or even reasonably close) performance for the money on our codes,
we would have bought one of them instead.

We aren't Linux/Intel/AMD/clustering zealots.  We'll buy whatever
equipment best meets our needs, and it just so happens that right now, a
PC-based Linux cluster was it.

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| Roger L. Smith                        Phone: 662-325-3625               |
| Systems Administrator                 FAX:   662-325-7692               |
| roger at ERC.MsState.Edu                 http://WWW.ERC.MsState.Edu/~roger |
|                       Mississippi State University                      |
|_______________________Engineering Research Center_______________________|

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